Here is the last part of a sermon on Politics. Re-reading and editing this for the blog here reminded me that I still feel this way, and maybe even more in this current political season.
Grace and peace to all,
5.) “The Supremacy of the Gospel” The entire protestant reformation turned on this very idea. Romans chapter 1 verse 16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith.”
Here we get to the real point of my entire message. Jesus’ primary concern is with the person’s eternal destiny, but not to the complete exclusion of their temporal needs. Here is where we need to find our balance. If we believe that the Gospel is a fact, “the power of God to salvation”; then everything we do needs to be motivated by that fact. We need to understand that all around us everyday there are millions and millions of people that are dying and are entering into eternity apart from Christ. And we, typically, do little or nothing about that. I, personally am under a great deal of conviction about that, and if you are not, then you need to talk to me after the service today, because I believe if we have been born again by the Spirit of God, if we have the conscience that God gives us, then we are going to be moved deeply and regularly by that fact.
The supremacy of the Gospel is that it is the power God to salvation. Now, when we look at another human being, we look at them through this lens; “Do they know Jesus”? Almost everything else I can set aside. I can set aside whether they are like me or not like me, whether they smell good or smell bad, and whether they are rich or poor. Do they know Jesus, and is there an impediment – right now – to their coming to Christ? Think about it like this – and this is what got me really got me going on this topic – in John chapter 3, this is Jesus’ talk with Nicodemus; Nicodemus had certain objections, what did Jesus do with those objections? He just gently moved them aside so He could get straight to the point.
In Luke chapter 5, verses 17 through 24, is the story about the man who was crippled, and his friends couldn’t get him to Jesus, so they whacked a hole in the ceiling and they lowered him down through the roof on this mat. Jesus looked at him (I think this is one of the funniest stories in the Bible – if you can imagine me preaching and chunks of the roof start falling in while I’m preaching here and then a guy comes down on a mat – I think that’s cool). So what did Jesus say? He looks at the guy on the mat and says “Your sins are forgiven” (I don’t know how long of a pause there was in that moment, there are a bunch of people sitting around going – “we’ll that’s all well and good, but the guy obviously needs something beyond that”) Jesus went on and healed him, and he got up off of his mat and walked. But what did Jesus give him? He gave him the eternal gift! He gave him salvation. We may not be able to heal the sick at will, I wish that I could – God knows I wish that I could, but we can be instruments that God can use to clear away peoples doubts and objections that they may receive salvation. That is the first and most important thing of all!
It does no good to preach the Gospel to someone who is starving to death without meeting their physical needs. You can’t go to Sudan and look at someone who is dying of starvation and malnutrition and say to them “You can be saved and go to heaven right now”. “You can enjoy all the blessing of God in your life right now.” “He wants you to be blessed and filled and prosper – Gods wants you to be healthy and if you have faith you could be healed right now. You can have all the money in the world because God wants you to be wealthy!” WHAT A FALACY – WHAT AN EVIL, EVIL LIE! You can’t say to someone dying of starvation that it is God’s will that he be healthy and wealthy. That’s a lie from the enemy. You have to feed them first! And you know what happens if you feed them? You will then be qualified to share the gospel with them.
One of my favorite organizations is Samaritans Purse, and we are about to send off another check to Samaritans Purse for Tsunami relief. Samaritans Purse goes in and meets people’s needs, and that qualifies them to share the Gospel. They don’t go in, share the Gospel and tell people they ought to get saved if you want to get some of this relief material. No – they are going to go in and meet people’s needs, and in the meeting of their needs it qualifies them to share the Gospel.
The Church has the right and the obligation to speak out on issues that are clearly defined in God’s Word. We have the right to speak out about those things. The Church is the Body of Christ, and Christians individually and collectively have the responsibility to work for the restraint of evil, whatever that may mean in our lives; voting, or even becoming politically active, even running for office. But the context of that work – restraining – is the sharing and the living of the Gospel message.
If our hope for the future is in government or politicians we have a problem. God is not a politician, and has no party affiliation. God does not favor one political party over another. God is sovereign! God rules over all, He rules over everything, He rules with the ultimate and eternal authority – every human being is accountable to God. When a politician acts, regardless of how they act, they will be held accountable for those actions. Every human being will be held accountable for their actions.
Philippians 2:11 says; “Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God…” and you will confess that either on the way into heaven or on the way out of heaven for eternity. The interest of the U.S. government should never – ever – be confused with the interests of God Himself. Human government is simply not called or equipped to advance the Gospel. Remember that when Paul and Peter wrote the things that they wrote, the government that they were writing about was one of the most corrupt, and blood thirsty of all Roman governments.
When Paul went to the city of Corinth, the city was famous for its debauchery. In fact to be called a “Corinthian” was a slur, it was an insult and meant that you were completely lacking in all moral character. And when he wrote to the church in Corinth after visiting there and establishing a Church there this is what he wrote to them. “Protest against the immorality in your city – form blockades at the temple” No it didn’t say that, I’m sorry. Paul wrote and said: “And I brethren, when I came to you did not come with excellence of speech, or wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God, for I determined nothing amongst you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear with much trembling and my speech with my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom but with the demonstration of the Spirit and Power that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1Cor.2:1-5)
The foundation of our faith and our interaction with the world around us is the Gospel. When we vote, we should vote our conscience on the basis of God’s Word. How does my candidate stand on the issues that God’s Word defines? But ultimately we must all understand that human government is limited in what it can or should do. Human government is temporary, human government is destructible. Our hope and our faith is in God Himself, and in what He has revealed to us through His Word, in the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Anything else is less! Anything else is bound to fail, and to disappoint. Only the Kingdom of God is worthy of our hopes and our dreams.